A third Republican candidate will join Iowa’s Republican 2018 Gubernatorial primary that currently includes Governor Kim Reynolds and Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett. Steven Ray, a member of Boone’s city council and the city’s Mayor Pro-Tem, announced he is running for Governor because state government needs a “serious makeover.”
Ray is an Iowa native who was born in Nevada, IA. He graduated from Boone High School in 1988, Des Moines Area Community College (Boone Campus) in 1990, and Iowa State University in 1992. Ray earned a B.A. in political science. He also graduated from Drake University’s Certified Public Manager program in 2012.
He has worked in public safety for 30 years. He was a 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Boone County Sheriff’s Department for seven years before joining the Iowa Department of Public Safety, Iowa State Patrol Division, as a communications specialist. He currently a regional communications center manager.
Ray was elected to the Boone City Council in 2003 and is currently serving his fourth term and is also the city’s Mayor Pro Tem. In his role on the city council, he currently chairs the Policy and Administration and Public Safety and Transportation committees and was formerly a member and chair of the city’s Economic Development Committee for 9 years from 2006-2015.
Ray has been the Iowa DPS representative to the state 9-1-1 Communications Council and has served as its chair from 2009-present, the longest serving chair in the council’s history.
In 2002, he was appointed to the local board for Boone and Story Counties for the United States Selective Service System. In March 2017, he was elevated to Iowa’s district appeal board by the Selective Service System.
Ray is a member of the Iowa Chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO); the Iowa Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the Iowa League of Cities.
He is married to Lisa who is a licensed practical nurse for Boone County Hospital and Clinics in Boone. They have two adult daughters: Megan Payne and Miranda Richmann.
Ray, on his website, says he is troubled by the political motivations behind changing Iowa’s public employee collective bargaining law. “It has become clear to me that there was an underlying need to use a long-standing political agenda to make these changes at the expense of public employees,” he writes.
He wants the state to address mental health as it relates to law enforcement, calling it one of the most dangerous issues they face. He also says he supports the death penalty for anyone convicted of killing a law enforcement officer. He wants to promote agricultural education, as well as, STEM. He supports the push for alternative energy sources like wind energy, ethanol, and biodiesel.
Ray also wants to address puppy mills in the state. “Puppy mills are a concern for me and Iowa must reevaluate whether dog breeders who register with the USDA are exempt from licensing and inspection under Iowa law,” he writes.
He says he is a “proponent of small, limited, yet effective government.”
Addressing the shortfalls in projected revenue, he said, “I don’t believe in using reserves to try and fill gaps that are known to continue without a permanent revenue solution. However, I believe it is irresponsible in budgeting to not identify the root cause of shortfalls and find a way to fix the problem.”
On the topic of abortion, he believes it is “immoral,” but supports exceptions to a ban on abortions that include pregnancies that are the result of rape and incest, as well as, when the life of the mother is at risk. Ray said that he believes little can be done on the issue, however, since Roe v. Wade is the “law of the land.” He does support waiting periods and bans on abortion after a particular gestational period has passed. He does not support the taxpayer funding of women’s health clinics that provide abortions.
Ray also says that if elected he will do nothing to change the state’s laws protecting LGBTQ residents. “A person’s sexual orientation shall never be an issue on any level in a Governor Ray administration. There will be no attempts from my administration to change existing laws,” he stated. “There are a number of conservative LGBT citizens who have long not felt at home in the Republican Party. It is time that philosophy changes.”
He also supports “comprehensive federal law covering healthcare” but believes Obamacare is ineffective. He said as governor, “(He) would evaluate all aspects of healthcare reform and try to decide, with the legislature, the best course of action for Iowans for the best care at the most affordable price.”
Ray made no mention of protecting religious liberty on his website.